The Fall of Saigon and Ho Chi Minh City

Approaching Vietnam“What are the lessons of Vietnam? Here’s one: Don’t use conventional means to fight an unconventional enemy so far from home. Here’s another: There are people on that wall who had doubts about the war but answered the call. There are others who believed in the cause, and they died as well. Their common bond: They died with honor, serving their country.” —Thomas BrokawHo Chi Minh Yesterday marked the 40th anniversary of the fall of Saigon. Alan and I lived through that war; we have a brother-in-law who is a veteran, and I had many friends who served. Just a few weeks ago we toured Saigon (now named “Ho Chi Minh City”), so the anniversary is especially emotionally charged to us. Ho Chi Minh City from DistanceForty years ago Alan and I were on opposite sides politically, but today we feel very much the same. Having visited South Korea 3 times and now seeing the stark—almost unbelievable—contrast between North and South Korea and Vietnam, makes us imagine, “What if?” Vietnam Farm What if Americans had stayed in the war and fought it out to victory? I believe Vietnam might be enjoying similar prosperity and freedom to that of South Korea. My impression from our visit is that many people are communists by default, by resignation…in order to survive and thrive. Reunification Palace Vietnam Our tour guide wasn’t critical of anybody or anything, but I could feel the undertone of disappointment in his voice sometimes. As one small example, Vietnam Trees in park we learned that communists from the north were trying to mandate 3,000 huge, ancient trees in Saigon’s main park be cut down to be used for lumber to build a subway in Hanoi. The people in southern Vietnam feel that this is very wrong and are frustrated that they can’t protect themselves. “BBC would never permit that!” he lamented. Vietnam rice paddies We are not fighting a conventional war spiritually, either, and we are a long way from our home in heaven! We need to be enlightened by Truth, and we need to keep fighting until the war is over. Some of us may have doubts, but I hope we all die with honor, serving our Lord.Vietnam Farmers in field“For though we walk in the flesh, we do not war after the flesh: (For the weapons of our warfare are not carnal, but mighty through God to the pulling down of strong holds;) Casting down imaginations, and every high thing that exalteth itself against the knowledge of God, and bringing into captivity every thought to the obedience of Christ” (2 Corinthians 10:3-5). One of the tanks on display at the Reunification PalaceFor any of you who are so young you don’t remember the war, there’s a 2:39 minute video from last night’s NBC news that is really worth viewing. (You will see this tank in action and people climbing over the walls during the takeover):–40-years-later-437248067614

Reunification Palace GatesAnother concise, well-researched synopsis by Robert F. Turner, co-founder of the Center for National Security Law at the University of Virginia School of Law, is here:

 (Now called the “Reunification Palace” in “Uncle” Ho Chi Minh’s city.)

(All the above pictures were taken in Vietnam during our trip a few weeks ago.)

5 responses to “The Fall of Saigon and Ho Chi Minh City

  1. Sobering.
    And we need to know what war we are fighting so we use the right weapons.
    Scripture tells us what weapons are appropriate for which battle; and above all, go first to the Captain of the Lord of Hosts for battle plans!
    Indeed, we are in a tremendous war: ”For our struggle is not against flesh and blood, but against the rulers, against the authorities, against the powers of this dark world and against the spiritual forces of evil in the heavenly realms. Therefore put on the full armor of God, so that when the day of evil comes, you may be able to stand your ground, and after you have done everything, to stand.” Eph. 6:12-13
    You are right, this is very real, and all of Scripture calls us to join the war.

  2. I’m not a communist and I don’t sympathize with the ideology, but it is ridiculous to think the US would’ve been Vietnam’s savior. If communism took hold it’s because the Vietnamese were tired of being a French colony. We can’t celebrate American independence and also celebrate the times we helped other countries keep their colonies against their will. Also, “developed” countries are the highest cause of deforestation in the world. At least the Vietnamese are messing with their own country. Europe and the US just go to other countries and mess up their environment and then leave with all the profit.
    Again, I’m not defending the communists in Vietnam (I’m well aware of their Crimea and horrors) but we also need to be aware of France’s and the United State’s crimes and horrors. No one has their hands clean

    • Thank you for your comments. Lucia, I’m sorry if I came across as imagining that the U.S. might have been Vietnam’s “savior.” Only God can save us!! My thought was that “Vietnam might be enjoying similar prosperity and freedom to that of South Korea” if we had stayed long enough to protect the South Vietnamese from being overtaken by the north. South Korea seems very healthy and flourishing compared to the desolation of North Korea, and I actually feel very critical of the U.S. (that’s me) for coming to SV’s aid and then leaving because the war became “unpopular” at home. That’s all I meant. There is no excuse for the U.S., France, or any other nation taking advantage of a smaller nation. That’s flat out wrong and deserved international condemnation. You’re right. No one has clean hands! 😦

      • Thanks for your reply. Sorry if I came off as aggressive. This was a thought provoking discussion!

      • I appreciated your thoughts and didn’t interpret you as “aggressive.” You’re concerned, and that’s great!!! Keep it up. 🙂

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